Boxing is an interesting sport. On the one hand, anyone can take up boxing. On the other, only the truly special can reach a certain level of excellence. For every one of us in between, we’re always looking to improve and to get better.
We pound ourselves hard in the gym for days on end, working technique after technique, over and over again until we reach perfection. In this sense, boxing will help you discover what you are capable of, both physically and mentally. At its core, boxing is a journey through the deepest recesses of a person’s heart and soul.
Throughout the history of the art, however, there have been many legends of boxing who have reached the pinnacle. There is much to be learned at the highest levels, and thankfully, the greatest have always been willing to share their invaluable insight.
Let’s take a step back and learn a few important lessons from boxing’s biggest stars. Apply what they teach, and perhaps you too can be just as great.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five useful tips from the greatest boxing legends of our time.
1) “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” – Mike Tyson
Boxing may be scientific and one of the most technical martial arts there is to master. But according to former undisputed Heavyweight World Champion and the one they called “The Baddest Man on the Planet”, boxing is still a fight when it comes down to it.
Strategies in the fight game are important, especially in boxing. But you need to also be willing and able to take a good shot. If anything, Mike Tyson teaches us to respect an opponent’s power and be prepared for it.
Getting hit in boxing, no matter how good your defense is, is inevitable. The best way to take the hits is to remain composed and stick to your game plan even as you take a huge punch in the face.
Conversely, looking to deliver your punches with power should be a focal point of your offense. When you connect on a punch, make it count. Earn your opponent’s respect.
2) “If you train hard, the fight is easy.” – Manny Pacquiao
Throughout his entire career, boxing’s only eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao from the Philippines leveraged his success off hard work. Coming from extreme poverty, Pacquiao once sold bread and fruit on the streets of Manila just to get by. Today, he’s one of the most successful prizefighters in history.
Pacquiao is a firm believer in the long hours of training. According to the boxing legend, the better-prepared he comes in for a bout, the greater his chance of success.
If you’ve ever witnessed Pacquiao train, you will totally understand where he is coming from. The Filipino goes all-out whenever he’s in the boxing gym, so much so that coaches have had to rein Pacquiao back in and prevent him from burning himself out.
Pacquiao may have truly been an otherworldly talent, but without the hard work he put into training at the boxing gym, he would have never been so spectacular.
So take after Pacquiao and make sure you prepare well for your fights and competitions. Cover all the bases and climb into the ring with confidence.
3) “The name of the game is to hit and not get hit.” – Floyd Mayweather
Many beginners, and even those more advanced, tend to forget about defense. However, defense is such an important part of boxing. Take that from the master of defense himself, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather built his career off his impregnable, iron-clad defensive techniques. The man they called “Pretty Boy” rarely got touched in his time inside the squared circle. As a result, he has enjoyed one of the lengthiest and wealthiest boxing careers in history. He’s made millions off his craft and has taken very little damage.
At his core, Mayweather is the perfect example of the science of boxing and pugilism. Deliver your offense, subdue your opponents, and defend yourself at all times. Behind his vaunted shoulder roll, catlike reflexes, and impeccable defensive awareness, Mayweather has shown just how significant defense is in an actual fight.
Focus on your offense, but never neglect your defense.
4) “Speed kills.” – Freddie Roach
Speed is the ultimate advantage in boxing. Just ask legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach, who trained speed demons like Mike Tyson, and Manny Pacquiao, among others.
While all of Roach’s fighters featured different sets of skills, it was often their speed that was difficult for opponents to deal with. Tyson had his power, Pacquiao had his relentlessness. Both featured lightning-fast combinations.
Most opponents become flustered when they encounter speed they don’t know how to handle. That’s why being the faster man in the ring is so important. This is true for both hand and foot speed.
The age-old boxing adage that “speed kills” has proven to be true, time and time again. Training speed in the boxing gym is a great way to enhance overall boxing ability. With improved speed comes improved precision and timing, leading to a greater connect rate.
5) “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali, also known as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), is hands down the most iconic world champion in boxing history. This polarizing historical figure popularized the sport and paved the way for the modern era of greats.
Ali possessed charisma, personality, and showmanship to go with his no doubt incredible boxing skills. But beneath the flamboyant facade was a man dedicated to a life of hard training, and a man who understood what it took to achieve unparalleled greatness.
Like many successful boxing world champions, Ali knew just how important his work was outside of competition. Because of the sacrifices he made in his life and career, Ali was able to achieve a level of perfection not many in the sport have been able to reach.
And it all boils down to how dedicated he was to honing his craft. There really is no way around it. If you want to get better in this sport, you have to be willing to put in the time.